What is the meaning of Paramattha?

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:59 am

Hi SarathW,

I'm not clear what exactly on page 184 you are referring to. Perhaps you are working from a version with different page numbers? It might be helpful if you copied the start of the passage you are recommending.

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby SarathW » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:27 pm

Hi Mike
The way I understand that, there is no an ultimate unchangeable element of existence.
Everything is subject to dependent origination.
Every thing is subject to impermanence and insubstantiality.

As a human it is enough for us to know that the five aggregate is the ultimate conceivable component of our existence.
With that knowledge we can realise Anatta and make our way to the liberation.

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby SarathW » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:57 am

You look at a river and you think the water is always
there. You know that every second there is new water flowing.
There are many similes to demonstrate the ultimate truth and
the conventional truth. These are just some of the similes. For
example, a car, we say that a car is a convention and the parts
are ultimate truth. Of course even the parts are not ultimate
truth yet. If you break it down to the smallest particle, that
particle is the ultimate truth. The smallest particle of matter is
the ultimate truth.

Page 39
http://buddhispano.net/sites/default/fi ... dies-I.pdf
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby SarathW » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:55 pm

Good article about this question:

Now the use of the two words, saccikattha and paramattha (" real and ultimate" )
as indicative of the nature of dhammas seems to give the impression that in denying
the reality of the person the Theravadins have overstressed the reality of the
dhammas. Does this amount to the admission that the dhammas are real and
discrete entities existing in their own right? Such a conclusion, it appears to us, is
not tenable.

Page 8:
http://www.stefan.gr/buddhism/books/abh ... theory.pdf
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:23 pm

It is a term used in the context of the two truths, and it is the antonym to the term Sammuti, which means conventional.

According to my understanding, ultimate reality is that which is directly experienced, and conventional reality is conceptual. To borrow your example of a house, the ultimate reality is the set of experiences which you have, such as the seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching of the house (you could include taste here, but I don't know of many people who lick their houses).

Based on these experiences which arise and cease, the mind generalizes a concept, in this case the concept of house, and this concept of house doesn't exist as a direct experience, so you can't call it ultimate reality. You can't say categorically there isn't a house however, as the concept of house is based on experience and is consistent with direct experience, so we say that it exists, but in a different sense. That is to say, we say the house exists in a conventional sense.

That's how I understand the distinction between ultimate and conventional reality anyways. There are probably other and more precise definitions out there, but I think this is a good practical way of understanding it.
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby jagodage » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:25 am

The dialogue regarding meaning of Paramatta Dharma.

It is very interesting discussion.

Since I joined recently only now I was able to read.The understanding an experience of Sammuthi and Paramattha Dharama is the 1st stepping stone in entering Vipassana Meditation.

The subject matter of this concept is relative.In this sense the Theory of Relativity has some relevance to this subject. We are tiny speck of our Galaxy.And atom consist of electron, proton and neutron.The relative distances more or less similar in both.

Therefore we should consider only what is minimum necessity to achieve ultimate Goal.It is by wisdom one should choose the necessity.This discussion throws some light on wisdom.

With Metta
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby thomaslaw » Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:43 am

Dear Dhamma friends,

Having read your postings regarding the notion/concept of Paramattha, and the information of this notion shown in Abhidhammattha Sangaha 'Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma', p. 25, it is very likely that the teachings of Paramattha (and its connection with Pa~n~natti 'Concept') are obviously 'not' supported by the suttas, such as the SN suttas (cf. Choong MK, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 54, 92, 138 (on 'pa~n~naapeti'), 154).
E.g. the five aggregates (according to the SN suttas) should be seen as they realy are as 'void (without reality, rittaka), insubstantial (tucchaka), and lacking essence (asaaraka)' (SN 22.95: PTS, iii, 140-143), because they (the five aggregates) are phenomena (dhammas) arisen by causal condition ('not' by their own right as 'irreducible' realities/components of existence), having the nature (dhamma) of anicca 'impermanence', nirodha 'cessation' (SN 12.20: PTS ii, 25-27).

Regards,

Thomas
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:39 am

Hi Thomas,

I think that may be an over interpretation of the terms. See this discussion, for example:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p269377

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby thomaslaw » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:28 am

HI Mike,

>M: I think that may be an over interpretation of the terms. See this discussion, for example:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19206&start=80#p269377

I am unable to see it is an over interpretation of the trems I mentioned here. Also, the term paramattha and its idealistic, systematic meanings are simply 'not' found in the suttas (particularly the SN suttas).

Regards,

Thomas
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:58 am

Have you read the references that Tiltbillings gave in the link I gave above, particularly the book by Ven Nyanaponika: ABHIDHAMMA STUDIES?

Please note that this is the Abhidhamma section, which is about clarifying the meaning of the Abhidhamma. Arguments that simply dismiss the Abhidhamma belong in The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate.

Guidelines for the Abhidhamma forum

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby Bakmoon » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:01 pm

thomaslaw wrote:Dear Dhamma friends,

Having read your postings regarding the notion/concept of Paramattha, and the information of this notion shown in Abhidhammattha Sangaha 'Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma', p. 25, it is very likely that the teachings of Paramattha (and its connection with Pa~n~natti 'Concept') are obviously 'not' supported by the suttas, such as the SN suttas (cf. Choong MK, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 54, 92, 138 (on 'pa~n~naapeti'), 154).
E.g. the five aggregates (according to the SN suttas) should be seen as they realy are as 'void (without reality, rittaka), insubstantial (tucchaka), and lacking essence (asaaraka)' (SN 22.95: PTS, iii, 140-143), because they (the five aggregates) are phenomena (dhammas) arisen by causal condition ('not' by their own right as 'irreducible' realities/components of existence), having the nature (dhamma) of anicca 'impermanence', nirodha 'cessation' (SN 12.20: PTS ii, 25-27).

Regards,

Thomas


I'm sorry but I don't quite see how seeing Dhammas as being Paramattha contradicts seeing them as being void, insubstantial, and lacking essence. When we say that a dhamma exists ultimately, we mean (in my understanding) that it is a part of direct experience rather than being a concept based on experience. This is true of all four classes of ultimate objects in Abhidhamma. Rupa, Citta, Cetasika, and Nibbana are all things that are experienced.

What we do not mean when we say that dhammas exist ultimately is that they have an essence or an existence that is not dependent on other things. The Theravada school explicitly rejects such an idea in the Patisambhidamagga which has an entire chapter that just lists all the different categories of analysis (the aggregates, the sense bases, etc... all the way up to Nibbana) and says that they are empty. It is true that sometimes in Theravada Abhidhamma the term Sabhava comes up (which is the Pali equivalent of the Sanskrit term Svabhava) but in the context of Theravadin Abhidhamma (as opposed for example to Sarvastivadin Abhidharma) the term doesn't mean an 'essence' or 'intrinsic existence' but is a general term that just means property, not essence.
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:05 pm

Greetings Bakmoon,

Bakmoon wrote:When we say that a dhamma exists ultimately, we mean (in my understanding) that it is a part of direct experience rather than being a concept based on experience.

...

What we do not mean when we say that dhammas exist ultimately is that they have an essence or an existence that is not dependent on other things.

I have no problem personally with what is said here, but if you ask an Abhidhammika whether nama and rupa exist independently of being observed/experienced, I believe they would actually say yes.

The only "other things" that are recognised in this context as dependencies seem to be the past momentary dhammas that gave rise to the present momentary dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby SarathW » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:56 pm

thomaslaw wrote:Dear Dhamma friends,

Having read your postings regarding the notion/concept of Paramattha, and the information of this notion shown in Abhidhammattha Sangaha 'Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma', p. 25, it is very likely that the teachings of Paramattha (and its connection with Pa~n~natti 'Concept') are obviously 'not' supported by the suttas, such as the SN suttas (cf. Choong MK, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 54, 92, 138 (on 'pa~n~naapeti'), 154).
E.g. the five aggregates (according to the SN suttas) should be seen as they realy are as 'void (without reality, rittaka), insubstantial (tucchaka), and lacking essence (asaaraka)' (SN 22.95: PTS, iii, 140-143), because they (the five aggregates) are phenomena (dhammas) arisen by causal condition ('not' by their own right as 'irreducible' realities/components of existence), having the nature (dhamma) of anicca 'impermanence', nirodha 'cessation' (SN 12.20: PTS ii, 25-27).

Regards,

Thomas


Thanks Thomas
Please read the following article and what is your thoughts on this.
My understanding of Paramattha is sum up as follows: (supported by this article)
===========
Thus, for the Theravadin,
the use of the term paramattha does not carry any substantialist implications. It
only means that the mental and material dhammas represent the utmost limits to
which the analysis of empirical existence can be pushed.

PAGE 14
http://www.zeh-verlag.de/download/dhammatheory.pdf
======
PS: I think this apply for Nibbana as well.
:thinking:
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I have no problem personally with what is said here, but if you ask an Abhidhammika whether nama and rupa exist independently of being observed/experienced, I believe they would actually say yes.

There are some quotes in this post http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=19206&start=80#p269377 that I would take more seriously than some generalised impression of "what an Abhidhammika would say". They indicate rather more nuanced approach.

I don't think the question of independent existence is really addressed in the Suttas or the Canonical Abhidhamma, and to me from what I've read in the Commentaries it does not seem to be a big issue. I see statements that I would interpret more along the lines of "this happens". However, some may read "this exists" into many statements in the Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentaries, particularly since English translations often tend to read like that, due to the way English is structured (with subjects and objects). For example, the common sutta statement that is often translated as "seeing things as they actually are": http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=9782, or the sutta statement often translated as "there is an unborn": http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2409#p33515.

I'd be delighted to see some definitive statements from the Canonical Abhidhamma or Commentaries that we could discuss, bearing in mind that the purpose of this Forum is to elucidate the meaning of the Abhidhamma (not to argue about it's correctness, which belongs over here: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate).

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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby Bakmoon » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:26 am

mikenz66 wrote:I don't think the question of independent existence is really addressed in the Suttas or the Canonical Abhidhamma, and to me from what I've read in the Commentaries it does not seem to be a big issue. I see statements that I would interpret more along the lines of "this happens". However, some may read "this exists" into many statements in the Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentaries, particularly since English translations often tend to read like that, due to the way English is structured (with subjects and objects). For example, the common sutta statement that is often translated as "seeing things as they actually are": http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=9782, or the sutta statement often translated as "there is an unborn": http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2409#p33515.

I'd be delighted to see some definitive statements from the Canonical Abhidhamma or Commentaries that we could discuss, bearing in mind that the purpose of this Forum is to elucidate the meaning of the Abhidhamma (not to argue about it's correctness, which belongs over here: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate).

:anjali:
Mike


Well said. In particular I find it very important to correctly understand the relevant passage from the Atthasalini which defines the term Dhamma. In my reading so far it seems to be the most explicit discussion of the topic, although unfortunately for us, the passage is very short:

Dhammas may be defined as those states which bear their own intrinsic natures (Sabhava), or which are borne by causes-in-relation, or which are borne according to their own characteristics


For me personally, one of the first things that jumps out at me reading this passage is that it follows the standard abhidhamma format for a definition which is to list a number of synonyms. Here the second two synonymous definitions identify a Dhamma in terms of arising from a cause and possessing its own characteristics, so in context the term Sabhava is in a parallel structure with the terms causes-in-relation and characteristics and so should be understood in a similar sense.

In particular, seeing the term Sabhava in the same context as the term characteristic (I think it's being used to translate Lakkhana) brings up a whole different set of connotations and aspects to the term Sabhava than the term would otherwise. In particular, it strongly indicates to me that it is being used as a synonym of the term Dhatu, which means something more like property. Linguistic evidence also indicates that there is such an aspect to the term, as the Sanskrit equivalent Svabhava is discussed in treatises in logic where it is given two senses, the sense of essence and the sense of mere property. Given this kind of distinction being made in Sanskrit and the parallel definition format, to me it is fairly clear that the term Sabhava is being used purely in the sense of property.

The subcommentary on the Atthasalini also seems to be cognizant of this sort of debate by famously elaborating "There is no other thing than the quality born by it" which to me seems quite definitive when combined with this contextualized understanding of the term Sabhava. Not only is Sabhava referring purely to the actual characteristics of a Dhamma, but by the subcommentary's interpretation, on the ultimate level reality only extends to the characteristics themselves and no further.

I find this to match up nicely with one of my favorite Suttas:

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The Lakkhana of a dhamma are part of the experience of it and so postulating any existence beyond experience by definition "lies beyond range" of what is directly knowable when talking on the ultimate level.
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:40 am

Bakmoon wrote: . . .
Nicely stated.
The Lakkhana of a dhamma are part of the experience of it and so postulating any existence beyond experience by definition "lies beyond range" of what is directly knowable when talking on the ultimate level.
Basically, dhammas are a way of talking about experience.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: What is the meaning of Paramattha?

Postby SarathW » Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:07 am

Thanks Bakmoon
How does Nibbana is fitting to your analysis?
Does Nibbana also realise within the range?
:thinking:
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Re: What is the meaning of Paramattha?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:10 am

SarathW wrote:Thanks Bakmoon
How does Nibbana is fitting to your analysis?
Does Nibbana also realise within the range?
:thinking:
Nibbana does not "realize."
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: What is the meaning of Paramattha?

Postby robertk » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:47 pm

Samyutta nikaya Khandhavagga (37(5)Ananda
P880 Bodhi translation
"the blessed one said to Ananda
"if Ananda they were to ask you 'Friend Ananda, what are the things
of whcih an arising is discerned,a vanishing is discerned, an
alteration of that which STANDS(thitassa annathattam) is discerned?
Being asked thus, how would you answer?"endquote [Ananda says the
five khandas are those things that have these qualities (of arising,
alteration while STANDING and dissolution). endquote The Buddha
applauds his answer.

Yes t khandhas exist, as we have that clearly
stated in the suttas also:
Samyutta Nikaya Khandavagga 94(2) Flowers Bodhi page 950
"Form (rupa) that is impermanet, suffering and subject to change;
this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say
that it exists. Feeing that is impermanent, suffering and subject to
change; this the wise in the world agree upon as existing and I too
say it EXISTS. Perception (sanna)that is impermanent, suffering and
subject to change; this the wise in the world agree upon as existing
and I too say it EXISTS. Sankhara that is impermanent, suffering and
subject to change; this the wise in the world agree upon as existing
and I too say it EXISTS. Vinnana (consciousness) that is
impermanent, suffering and subject to change; this the wise in the
world agree upon as existing and I too say it EXISTS.""endquote
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Re: What is the meanig of Paramattha?

Postby robertk » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:21 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Bakmoon,

Bakmoon wrote:When we say that a dhamma exists ultimately, we mean (in my understanding) that it is a part of direct experience rather than being a concept based on experience.

...

What we do not mean when we say that dhammas exist ultimately is that they have an essence or an existence that is not dependent on other things.

I have no problem personally with what is said here, but if you ask an Abhidhammika whether nama and rupa exist independently of being observed/experienced, I believe they would actually say yes.

The only "other things" that are recognised in this context as dependencies seem to be the past momentary dhammas that gave rise to the present momentary dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Thanks Retro
Yes indeed. They are sarupato- they exist "from their own side" - and are independent of any concepts about them.
So for example you might be looking at your computer and not your foot yet the rupas/rupakhandha/kalapas that make up what we conventionally call a foot are still arising and ceasing even without anyone 'experiencing' them.
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